UGC Proposes Framework for Joint, Dual, & Twinning Program with Foreign Higher Educational Institution

UGC Proposes Framework for Joint, Dual, & Twinning Program with Foreign Higher Educational Institution
20.02.2021 | Education News | EduLegaL | |
17th February 2021, the University Grants Commission (UGC) based on a report shared by a Committee constituted by it proposed Draft UGC (Academic collaboration between Indian and foreign Higher Education Institutions to offer Joint Degree, Dual Degree and Twinning Programme) Regulations, 2O21.  The Draft Regulations further the objective of the National Education Policy (NEP) towards recognizing credits acquired in foreign countries, for awarding degrees, providing a regulatory mechanism to permit dual degrees, joint degrees and twinning arrangements.
The Draft Regulations propose an academic collaboration in terms of:

  1. Credit Recognition and Transfer;
  2. Joint Degree Programme;
  3. Dual Degree Programme;
  4. Twinning arrangement.

While the credit recognition and transfer, i.e., recognizing, quantifying, and including the credit earned abroad for completion of a programmme is in practice, it is now proposed to be formalized.
Twinning Arrangement:
The twinning arrangement is one of the most controversial areas, which is now addressed in the Draft Regulations. Students enrolled under this arrangement, with an Indian Higher Education Institution (HEI)  are required to undertake the program of study partly in India and partly in a foreign HEI. The UGC proposes that such degrees shall be awarded only by Indian HEI with a caution that courses should not overlap and transcripts should have remarks indicating that students have appeared for certain modules at partner institutions.
Joint Degree Programmme:
The joint degree program provided in the Regulations 2016, is proposed to be reformed wherein in such arrangement, the curriculum shall be designed jointly by the collaborating Indian and foreign HEI’s and degrees shall be awarded by Indian and foreign HEI with a single certificate bearing the logo and crests of both collaborating institutions.
Dual Degree Programme:
The Dual Degree Programme,  a significant departure from the earlier Regulation of 2016, encompasses degrees that may be conferred by the Indian and foreign HEI, separately and simultaneously upon completion of degree requirements of both the institutions. In the interest of the students, the UGC has proposed that the student shall submit to only one examination and evaluation process for each of the courses by the institutions in which he/she has registered for that course and that Provisions for exit pathways shall be available to students who are unable to complete the Dual Degree Programme.
Furthermore, UGC proposed that institutions that enter into MoU for academic collaborations, depending on their NAAC Grade / NIRF Ranking, will be permitted to conduct activities through two modes: automatic mode and approval mode.
Any Indian institution either accredited by NAAC with a minimum score of 3.01 or in the top 100 in the University category of NIRF can be considered under the automatic mode. Similarly, any foreign higher education institution in the top 500 of Times Higher Education or QS World University ranking can be categorized under the automatic mode. UGC, on receipt of information and verification of information, shall automatically grant approval without any further processing.
Any other institution will have to follow the approval mode. In this process, on receipt of the proposal, the Expert Committee of UGC will consider the proposal and submit its recommendation to UGC, which will make the final decision in the matter. In either case, the approval shall be granted for a period of 5 academic years at a time.
Institutions are advised to mandatorily follow this process. If they fail to follow the process, the UGC is empowered to take penal action against erring institutions.
The UGC has called for ideas/comments/suggestions/feedback from the stakeholders on the Draft Regulations latest by March 15, 2021.
The Draft Regulations 2021 will replace the University Grants Commission (Promotion and Maintenance of Standards of Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2016. Prior to the 2016 Regulations, The University Grants Commission (Promotion and Maintenance of Standards of Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2012 was in force.
Research Intern | Ritesh Samartha |EduLegaL
Legal Editor | Swapna Iyer

EduLegaL View:
The Draft Regulations 2021 certainly expands on the earlier Regulations of 2012 and 2016.
However, what comes to my attention is the exclusion of “ODL and Online learning Programmes”, especially when the mode of education is gradually shifting to the online mode does not sound to reason. Suggestions pertaining to the said category must be duly noted and attended to by the UGC.
Likewise, the proposal to permit a “Dual Degree” in association with a foreign HEI needs to be extended to Indian HEI’s as well.
An overall analysis suggests that this is a good step forward and is definitely encouraging!
Ravi Bhardwaj | |

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